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Men’s volleyball takes down Legacy Longhorns

Senior and co-captain Parker Nelson jumps to spike the ball and earn a point for his team at the home game against Legacy on April 10.

Michaela Jackson

Senior and co-captain Parker Nelson jumps to spike the ball and earn a point for his team at the home game against Legacy on April 10.

by Chandler Patrick, Reporter

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As the Panthers stepped out onto their home court Friday, April 10 to play the Legacy Longhorns, they radiated confidence and showed their skills- just in the opening warm ups.

Legacy was a force to be reckoned with, showing noticeable vertical jump skill and impressive spikes in their warm-up period.

“I love playing Legacy because they’re always confident and want to win just as bad as us, and it’s always a competitive game,” said senior and co-captain Parker Nelson.

Calling it a competitive game would be an understatement, with Palo winning the first two sets by a landslide, faltering on the third and coming through victorious on the fourth.

Junior Jacob Scheer gave the starting serve, and a spike from senior Michael Simister was responsible for the first point of the game.

The game was rolling, and the Panthers were turning up the heat. They drove the score up to a 12-6 lead, and were by no means ready to lose that position.

Zaire Franklin on Legacy showed himself as a tough opponent to beat, perpetrating the next two hard spikes.

Panthers scored 25 points after some hard hits and were determined to win their next set.

Things got interesting in the second set as the scores started escalating.

In an 11-7 lead, the Panthers continued showcasing monster spikes from Nelson as well as excellent guarding from senior and co-captain Cole Willson. Nelson was also responsible for an unexpected ace, where only one of Legacy’s players touched the ball at the last second, which gained another point for Palo.

Skill and logical plays made room for Palo to collect their second set for the night toward winning the whole game.

The Panthers’ setback began as they served the ball, signaling the start of the third set. The Longhorns were determined to win early on, and immediately drove to a 4-1 lead. Palo fought back with another one of Nelson’s spikes, where not one but four of Legacy’s players dived to save, all of them failing.

“When I get a successful spike it feels like I’m flying and I just hit the ball as hard as I can,” said Nelson.

Despite an eight point lead from Legacy, Palo continued to fight with heart and  Coach Clarke’s guidance. But after numerous attempts at scoring, Palo’s players were sprawled on the floor, whistles were blowing and Legacy had won the set.

“We definitely could’ve done better in the third match. We didn’t play to the best of our ability at all,” said Willson.

Both teams pushed hard for a win in the beginning of the fourth and final set, as Legacy chased Palo through a 5-4 beginning score. Legacy played well mentally and physically by capitalizing on open sections in Palo’s formation in order to gain points.

The score seemed like it was playing leapfrog with the constant change of lead. It was apparent that neither team was going down without a fight.

When it was getting down to the final few deciding points, Palo pulled their team together and worked in harmony. Willson set senior Michael Simister up for perfect spikes to put Palo in the lead 22-21. Legacy pulled the same trick from their sleeve and tied up the score. Small mistakes from Legacy led to their eventual loss, like a serve that didn’t quite go over the net or a spike that wasn’t set up right. Then, due to an attempted tap that was declared out of bounds, Palo took the final win.

“Palo kinda let their guard down in the third set, but in the fourth we stepped it up and got the win,” said Willson.

Overall, the men’s volleyball team didn’t disappoint their school or each other. The players believe there is a lot in store for them before the season officially ends.

“I totally see state in Palo’s future as long as we keep practicing and working on what we need to,” said Simister.

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Men’s volleyball takes down Legacy Longhorns